Friends and readers, I’m calling on your skills and expertise to help me. I’m working on a bit of a side project and I need you to help me brainstorm a little.
I’m looking for novels that are based on the lives of real life, historical people set in the early 20th century. Circling The Sun by Paula McLain is exactly the type of book I’m looking for. So far I’ve gathered this list. What can you add to it?
Z by Therese Anne Fowler
Local Customs by Audrey Thomas
Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
The Visitors by Sally Beauman
Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood
Villa America by Liza Klaussmann
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
The Goddess of Small Victories by Yannik Grannec
The Indian Clark by David Leavitt
The Confabulist by Steven Galloway
Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut
Us Conductors by Sean Michaels
Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gornter
Above All Things by Tanis Rideout.
Mr. Mac And Me by Esther Freud
Let me know what I’m missing and I’ll add to my list.
In glancing at my bookshelf… I have a few to suggest:
* Mary Coin, by Marisa Silver (character names changed from those of real people, so not sure if this works for your project – same with Lily King’s ‘Euphoria’, and Curtis Sittenfeld’s ‘American Wife’.)
* The Invention of Everything Else, by Samantha Hunt
* The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty
* A Good Hard Look, by Ann Napolitano
* Erika Robuck has several, based on: Hemingway, Z. Fitzgerald, Hawthorne, St. Vincent Millay
* Colony of Unrequited Dreams, Wayne Johsnton
* 11/22/63, by Stephen King
* The Hours, by Michael Cunningham
* I Was Amelia Earhart, by Jane Mendelsohn
I’ll stop now! 🙂
Good luck with the project!!
Great additions. How could I forget Wayne Johnston? euphoria and The American Wife don’t work so well, but the rest look good. Thanks!
Awesome!! (Johnston – sorry for the earlier typo – is on my mind as I am reading that novel right now. It’s so good!)
I read it years ago when it first came out, but I remember that I was stunned by it.
It’s definitely taken me far too long to get to this read… but I am glad to be in it now!
This is probably too late for what you’re looking for, but Studio Saint Ex by Ania Szado springs to mind!
Thanks. I don’t know how that one slipped my mind!
The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
Some how this book passed me by. I don’t know how – it sounds fabulous. And it also sounds like exactly what I’m looking for.
Call Me Zelda by Erica Robuck (another F.Scott Fitzgerald angle)
TC Boyle has a few books like this: The Women (Frank Lloyd Wright), Riven Rock (Katherine McCormack), The Road to Wellville (Kellogg), and The Inner Circle (Alfred Kinsey).
Perfect. I’ve even read a few of them! Thanks so much.
Yes, the TC Boyle one was the one I was going to mention too – and the Studio Saint X one…glad you’re getting all this excellent feedback Tanya! What a great community eh? Have a great time with the project! (Penny) 🙂
Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer
March by Geraldine Brooks
The Women by T C Boyle
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Long Bay by Eleanor Limprecht
My Notorious Life by Kate Manning
Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar
Just remembered another – the fascinating Magda by Meike Ziervogel.
And another – the just released Twain’s End by Lynn Cullen – I haven’t read it yet but it looks brilliant.
I’m assuming it’s about Twain?
Yes, I think about his secretary and her husband – some kind of love triangle??
Of all the ones I listed, the best were Vanessa and Her Sister, The Women, Z and although I didn’t include it because you already had it on your list, Loving Frank.
oh yeah! The Frances and Bernard book – that was a nice read!
Oooh – I have a list of just this category of books (it’s one of my favorites)! Here’s what I have that you didn’t already cover: 11/22/63 by Stephen King, A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott, Back Channel by Stephen L. Carter, Natchez Burning and The Bone Tree by Greg Iles, Sutton by J.R. Moehringer, The Wife The Maid and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon, and The Wives of Los Alamos (can’t remember the author right now). Hope this helps and I’ll be interested to hear more about your project since I love this category so much!
Also – Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
Such a good read; glad you mentioned it, Sarah! 🙂
Helps so much. Thanks!
Fever by Mary Beth Keane is about Typhoid Mary, and The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty is about (I believe) a fictional character, but features a young Louise Brooks.
fever sounds perfect.
I thought of The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin but I think that that one is actually the late 19th century.The only one I can come up with that someone else hasn’t already listed is The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff… It actually turns out that I don’t read a lot of this category – I read fictionalized accounts of real people but not set in the early 20th century. I tend to read the non-fiction versions of those. If you ever want suggestions in that category…
Thanks. My list is steadily growing.
I just read Girl Waits With a Gun about Constance Knopp (one of the first female sheriff deputies)
I didn’t realise it was based on a real person. Thanks.
How about Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea?
I went to download it the other day and it had expired! I’m also kind of tired of reading about the wives of famous men.
How about Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar?
Wow people named most of the ones I knew. Way ahead of me! It’s not my favorite genre admittedly but some are quite good.
How about a “Guy Book”? Young Philby should do the trick.
Just thought of two more:
* Dancer, by Colum McCann – fictionalized version of the life of Russian ballet great Rudolf Nureyev (17 March 1938 – 6 January 1993).
* Arctic Summer, by Damon Galgut – early 1900s, about E.M. Foster, his life, and writing ‘A Passage to India’.